12.2 / FALL/WINTER 2017


I cut my hair short and I like it
that it doesn’t fall on your face
making you frown as you scratch
your cheek in your sleep

A dog barks, a motorbike buzzes
and the sounds reach us as if through
liquid, the darkness wet like tar
the mosquito zig zags around you
a halo until it goes silent again, feeding

Your grandmother didn’t leave us a blanket
and the mosquitos are at it again
So I rip the fitted sheet off the mattress
and as I cover you, you uncurl your limbs
like a flower blossoming with pollen blood

This morning your back was covered
in welts you scratched until you broke skin
ruptures as small as the cut carved
by a tiny buckle on the strap of grandmother’s
sandal when she hit me once, a wound
I cherished as it was the only time
she left something visible

I pray that in the morning I will not yell
at you again, when I want to yell
at your grandmother, when I
want to yell at myself
when I should remain silent

You make a sound and I mistake it
for whimpering, but it is laughter
I bury my nose in the fuzz of your curls
my short hair makes me look tired
makes me look like your grandmother
I decide I will grow it out again
I scratch my arm with my teeth
so as not to let go of your hand


Ananda Lima’s work has appeared in The American Poetry Review, Rattle, The Offing, Sugar House Review, Origins and elsewhere. She has an MA in Linguistics from UCLA and is pursuing her MFA in fiction at Rutgers-Newark. She was selected for the AWP Writer to Writer program and has attended workshops at Bread Loaf, Sewanee, Tin House and the Community of Writers. Ananda is currently working on a full-length poetry collection centered on immigration and motherhood.

12.2 / FALL/WINTER 2017